Meet Our Faculty

The faculty working closely with students in this program bring a wealth of research, academic and practical expertise in their respective fields of expertise. It is directed by Brooks B. Gump, Professor of Public Health, Syracuse University, and Karen Wolford, Professor Department of Psychology and Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Trauma Studies at SUNY Oswego.

Brooks B. Gump, Ph.D., M.P.H.Gump, Brooks

PI; Syracuse University

Dr. Gump is the Falk Family Endowed Professor of Public Health at Falk College and currently serves as the Director of Graduate Programs. His research focuses on cardiovascular disease risk in children and environmental toxicants. Dr. Gump was awarded an R01 grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and has been PI for an Academic Research Enhancement Award (AREA) from NIH. These projects involved many undergraduates in practicums, research assistantships, and independent studies. His teaching areas include epidemiology, health psychology, research methods, and advanced statistics.

Karen Wolford, Ph.D.Wolford, Karen

co-PI; SUNY Oswego

Dr. Wolford is the Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Trauma Studies at Oswego and has involved undergraduate students as co-authors (2 publications) and presenters (3 international conferences). She has supervised several McNair scholars who have been accepted to graduate programs with funding. Dr. Wolford is a licensed clinical psychologist whose research interests include treatment outcome studies, validational studies and scale development of psychological screening instruments (for organicity, suicidality). Additional areas of interest include psychological assessment, substance abuse, psychological trauma, mindfulness-based stress reduction research, and issues of race, class and gender.

Keith A. Alford, Ph.D., ACSWAlford, Keith

Syracuse University

Dr. Alford currently serves as the the Chair of the School of Social Work at Falk College and as the University’s Interim Chief Diversity Officer. Dr. Alford’s specializations include mental health service delivery to families and culturally-specific programming for children. He provides instruction and leadership for two important program needs: 1) diversity and trauma, and 2) group cohesion and conflict resolution. We have learned from our first 2 years that some interpersonal conflicts arise as a function of a diverse student population (some with mild to moderate PTSD) being engaged in trauma-related material and research. Dr. Alford will stay in close contact with students through 2 courses and provide the necessary support for students as they engage in this important research in this unique environment.

Matthew Dykas, Ph.D.Dykas, Matthew

SUNY Oswego

Dr. Dykas currently serves as the Chair of the Psychology Department at SUNY Oswego. He is a developmental psychologist whose expertise and theoretical interests lie in the area of children’s and adolescents’ social and emotional development. His current research program focuses principally on understanding how children and adolescents cognitively represent their experiences in close social relationships and how such cognitive representations are connected to the ways in which these individuals process social information and behave towards others. He has published research in a variety of academic journals and has an extensive track record for both involving undergraduate students in his research program and overseeing undergraduate students’ research projects.

Dr. Dykas will be on sabbatical during Summer 2019.

Stephen Glatt, Ph.D.SteveG

SUNY Upstate Medical University

Dr. Glatt is Associate Director of Research for the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Psychiatric Genetic Epidemiology & Neurobiology Laboratory (PsychGENe Lab) at SUNY Upstate Medical University. Dr. Glatt has published over 85 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 7 of which included undergraduate co-authors. In his PsychGENe Lab, he oversees numerous students, including undergraduates and even high-school students. With particular reference to undergraduate students, Dr. Glatt is currently hosting a Presidential Fellow from Ithaca College and a student in the Renee Crown University Honors Program at Syracuse University. A current medical student at New York Medical College just completed her undergraduate Honors thesis work in the PsychGENe Lab under Dr. Glatt’s supervision. Furthermore, Dr. Glatt has directly mentored three students over two summers in our NSF-sponsored REU, involving each of these students in his ongoing PTSD biomarker research.

Adam Fay, Ph.D.Fay, Adam

SUNY Oswego

Dr. Fay is a social psychologist. His research focuses on social affiliation and interpersonal relationships, with particular attention to the roles of sensory experiences and fundamental motivations. Current projects are examining how complex interactions between needs for social belonging and self-protection interact with sensory stimuli and individual differences in social anxiety to shape social cognition and behavior.

Kevin Heffernan, Ph.D.KevinH

Syracuse University

Dr. Kevin Heffernan’s research examines the interaction of diet, nutritional supplementation and exercise on vascular function in health, disease and disability. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the most salient killer in in the United States and is also one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among U.S. veterans. Exposure to combat is a unique, intense stress that increases risk for incident hypertension and new-onset coronary disease over a relatively short period of time in young military personnel. The number of combat-exposed veterans continues to increase, many service of them returning with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Both combat exposure and PTSD have been linked to CVD morbidity including incident heart failure, stroke, and myocardial ischemia. It is possible that the profound physical and psychological stress of combat coupled with PTSD may accelerate the atherosclerotic process contributing to premature vascular aging. Our overarching research agenda will explore links between PTSD and CVD risk in young Veterans. We will further explore the impact of various lifestyle factors and other related constructs (physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition) on PTSD and CVD risk in young Veterans.

Katherine McDonald, Ph.D., FAAIDDMcDonald, Katherine

Syracuse University

Dr. McDonald is a Professor of Public Health and has worked with many students in research. She has worked hand-in-hand with students to design study protocols, collect and analyze data, and co-author presentations at national and international conferences, peer-reviewed manuscripts, and evaluation and research reports. Her federally-funded research includes the empirical study of ethical issues in research with adults with intellectual disability and participatory research with adults with developmental disabilities to understand and address disparities and their social determinants among people with an array of disabilities. Dr. McDonald has been an IRB member for over 10 years across 3 universities, and is currently the Chair of SU’s IRB. Dr. McDonald’s primary contribution will be to teaching and mentoring students on the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), and as an active scholar she anchors this contribution in her role as a researcher.

Emily Bovier, Ph.D.Bovier, Emily

SUNY Oswego

Dr. Bovier’s research involves psychophysical assessments of human sensory systems in order to understand the influence of environmental changes on neural functioning and subsequent impact on quality of life. Her work has focused on lifestyle habits, mainly dietary intake of carotenoids, and in characterizing visual symptoms in patients with concussive or mild traumatic brain injury. Such measures may then be used as a benchmark for assessing efficacy of rehabilitative interventions.

Ivan CastroIvanCastro

Syracuse University

Ivan serves as Project Manager, coordinating execution of the program and providing administrative support to faculty and students. He assists in the recruitment of subjects and collection of data for the program’s research studies. Ivan, a Navy veteran, holds a BA in Psychology from SUNY Oswego and a MS in Public Health from Syracuse University. This position is funded with support from the Institute of Veterans and Military Families and Falk College Dean’s Office.